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Indiana Jones
and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt and Jim Broadbent.

Rated: 12A. (My eight-year-old was a little scared in places but the main issue was that the historical setting and exposition left him totally lost. Although he enjoyed the film, he spent most of it asking me what was going on.)

Story: Having made a huge mountain of cash from the Star Wars prequels, George Lucas decides it's time to start recycling other ideas. Leaving Howard the Duck for a different occasion, he opts for a fourth Indiana Jones film. He wakes Harrison Ford from his afternoon nap and they get

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is set in 1957 and features Soviet enemies, McCarthyism, a young sidekick, an old flame, some hugely unlikely escapes and a cast-off plot from a science fiction B-movie.

Comments: It's a new Indiana Jones film! Hurrah! It actually looks and feels like one as well, with proper stunts, returning characters, back references and plenty of whip-cracking, tomb-raiding action. Harrison Ford even almost manages to not look too old.

Unfortunately, the film is self-conscious of these things with rather too much pointed looking back and a selection of 'we're not as young as we used to be' jokes. Meanwhile, some preposterous action sequences and the ropey plot are played straight as if there is nothing remotely dubious about them. Since after only a quarter of an hour, Indy should really have died twice and the story has already moved into improbability, it's a case of sitting back and just soaking in the atmosphere.

Happily, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn't awful but it does rather trade on nostalgia to get by. Without the history of the franchise behind it, it wouldn't stand up to much scrutiny - it doesn't make sense in places and is totally daft in others. Still, it is a new Indiana Jones movie... If you liked the other ones, you'll be entertained by this. There's no need to rush out to the cinema, though. Feel free to wait for the DVD release.

Conclusion: Better than the Star Wars prequels but not as good as the LEGO.

Explosions: A single very, very large one.
References to the previous films: Dozens.
Number of bullets fired at Indiana Jones by crack Soviet troops: Hundreds.
Number of bullets that actually hit Indiana Jones: None.
Disparity in these numbers: Large.
Improbable uses of a fridge: One.

Rating: 3/5.

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